Tag Archives: Bryce Lawrence

Bye Bye Bryce..?

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International condemnation for Bryce Lawrence has continued to gather momentum and he has now been overlooked for the semi-finals, and seemingly the final, by the IRB. Pressure from rugby fans has also led to a Facebook campaign for action to be taken and Bryce Lawrence himself is reported to be considering quitting the game.

It says something about the way sport and media (and social media) has changed and referees are under far more scrutiny than ever before.

The fundamental difference between Bryce Lawrence’s performances and other refereeing mistakes (Wayne Barnes for example) is that on the whole other mistakes are just that – a blip in the game – and players/coaches/fans are mature enough to realise that their team made more mistakes that cost them the game than a refereeing blemish.

Bryce Lawrence has just looked out of his depth for the entire tournament (and in reality before it) and the IRB need to realise they made a mistake in appointing him.

Given the catalouge of issues that have gone before in his performances, from the Lions in 2009 to the recent Australia v Ireland World Cup pool match, it is no wonder that the pressure is beginning to take its toll.

Refereeing is more about the mental fitness than the physical – and Bryce has sadly demonstrated that his current approach is wrong – particularly compared to some of his contemporaries – Nigel Owens, Alain Rolland and Craig Joubert (who has been fantastic and could be a good bet to ref the final).

It would be sad if Bryce Lawrence quits all forms of the game – but it is probably right that the IRB take a view and reconsider his involvement at the highest level.

All referees have car crash games, where everything goes wrong, but Bryce is a metaphorical regular pile-up! You wouldn’t allow such incompetent drivers on the road and the IRB shouldn’t encourage the same from their elite.

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Brought-into Disrepute

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With England crashing out of the World Cup (and Tuilagi splashing out!), Ireland crushed by an inspirational Welsh side, Australia proving you dont need possession, territory or ability to win a Test match and New Zealand stuttering to a win over the battling Pumas, the main quarter final talking point was yet again the substandard performance of Bryce Lawrence, who looked inept and like a rabbit in the headlights as he took charge of Australia v South Africa.

It appears an odd decision to have a kiwi refereeing a match that would decide the likely team to play the All Blacks the week later. This was compounded by the numerous mistakes and indecision he showed, particularly in the closing stages where South Africa demolished a ramshackle Wallaby team in every facet of the match.

However, despite their dominance and the Aussies committing numerous indiscretions, Bryce seemed only interested in awarding scrums, until an innocuous issue at the lineout that he determined was deliberate and gave Australia a lifeline and passage into the Semi-finals.

Hopefully, the silver lining means that it is unlikely that Bryce will darken the World Cup again.

It appears that referees here are too getting more of a hard time from clubs. Broughton Park RFC in Manchester are being investigated after their online tirade against a referee in a recent match. The club have become known on occasions for some blinkered views of the game and dont appear to be a fan of referees at times.

The recent written outburst came after a losing performance against league leaders Sandbach, which they lost narrowly by 3 points. However, they missed two last minute penalties to pull off an upset. This fact is overlooked and undersold in their commentary. The only positive is the number of referees and clubs who have shown support for the ref concerned (who isnt me – but is an outstanding referee).

Yes its hypocritical to lambast Bryce Lawrence and then decry the actions of a club for seemingly doing the same – but Bryce is a professional and should not make the mistakes he does, Broughton Park hit out at a referee who actually had a great performance and was more sour grapes, Mancunian style*.

*It should be noted that the club have now altered their match report, which is a very welcome and positive move!

Lawrence of Anomaly

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It’s tough at the top, or so they say. The reality is that actually it is tougher in the middle. The expectations placed on referees is growing at all levels of the game, and none more so than those lucky (?!) few who make the international grade.

Tomorrow England face Argentina in their opening World Cup clash in Dunedin. The most significant name on the team sheet is that of one Bryce Lawrence, the New Zealand referee charged with the arbitration of the match.

Normally the choice of referee is simply a matter of curiosity as a rugby fan, but this selection has some serious significance. England have NEVER won a game with Lawrence in charge. Coincidence? Maybe.

But then consider that the recent shock (but deserved) win of Italy over France in this year’s Six Nations had signore Lawrence at the helm. In matches with southern hemisphere versus northern hemisphere teams the south have always prevailed. Bias? Maybe.

Worst of all, Lawrence had the most significant impact on the 2009 British Lions tour to South Africa.

He officiated the first test so badly that most international press had a field day in criticising his quality and pedigree – he is after all the only New Zealand international referee (Steve Walsh in now Australian) and his dad was also an international referee.

He came into his own special league less than 60 seconds into the second British Lions test when he made the recommendation to yellow card Schalk Burger for eye gouging! Any under 9 player could tell you that contact with the eyes is a simple and straight red – a concept seemingly way beyond Lawrence. Incompetence? Maybe.

So tomorrow promises to be a tough day at the office for England. Even if a competent display is forthcoming will Lawrence favour the south over the north, the underdog over the favourite, as appears to have been is form for the last 3 years at International level. Anomaly? Maybe…..